In 2010, an eccentric millionaire named Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and thousands of people have been looking for it ever since. The Lure follows just a few of these hopefuls on their quest to find the gold. Famed documentarian Errol Morris has an executive producer credit, and his influence shows in the film's sympathetic and quirky portrayals of its subjects. We meet a once-wealthy Wall Street guy with a Santa Claus beard who gave up his privileged life more than a decade ago to hunt for gold and play cowboy in the Southwest. There are a couple of women who've set out on a weekend camping expedition together, away from husbands and families who don't quite understand "the lure."
In truth, I don't really get it either. Fenn provided a few clues about the treasure at the outset, and he continues to feed his minions crumbs as time goes on. There's a baffling poem, for instance, which talks about how long and perilous the journey will be, but also how easy and interesting. "It's not in Idaho or Utah," Fenn writes, which just means it could be anywhere in four other states. I hesitate to repeat the tired expression "needle in a haystack." What the hunt requires of its subjects is so much worse.
But it's not about the finish line! At least that's what all of them insist. The fun comes from the adventure and the thrill of the chase. Still, you can't help but notice a certain glimmer in each subject's eyes when they talk about the treasure. Always they engage in self-talk aimed at tempering their expectations, but it seems like all of them secretly believe the treasure is their destiny, and they alone will find it.
Now in his 80s, Fenn's motivations and sincerity remain a constant point of speculation. He maintains playful contact with the treasure hunters online, but can anything he says be trusted? Did he even hide a treasure at all?
The Lure is a delightful adventure, and a nice reprieve from some of the festival's more heady subjects.
Screens at the Elks Lodge Mon., Feb. 20, at 5:30 PM and Sat., Feb. 25, at 8:30 PM.